Nicole Manison to remain Deputy Chief Minister: Fyles

by | May 17, 2022 | News, NT Politics | 0 comments

Chief Minister Natasha Fyles has named Nicole Manison as her deputy, keeping her in the role she has held since Michael Gunner’s Labor government was first elected in 2016.

Ms Fyles announced the appointment on Facebook Tuesday afternoon, days after repeatedly telling media that the decision would be made when the new Cabinet is announced.

It’s being seen by some political observers as an early indication that any chance at reforms with the new leader will not be forthcoming.

“Nicole and I have known one another a long time,” Ms Fyles wrote on her Facebook page.

“Colleagues for nearly a decade, we’ve seen one another through five children and have stuck together through the best of times and the worst of times.

“It is my privilege to have her by my side.

“We said stability was key and that is what we will continue to provide. And we’ll do it together.”

The move has been seen as a factional olive branch, after Ms Manison’s right faction of the Labor Party was delivered a humiliating defeat last Friday, when she unsuccessfully challenged for the leadership.

But others say it’s a clear sign that Ms Fyles has no intention of starting her leadership fresh.

Sources told the NT Independent Ms Manison and Mr Gunner had worked the numbers to get Ms Manison over the line as leader in the caucus leadership vote last Friday.

However, members of the right faction dropped Ms Manison and Mr Gunner to instead support Ms Fyles from the left faction as Chief Minister.

It was expected by many that Ms Manison would have taken herself out of the running for a Cabinet position after the humiliating defeat in caucus last week.

The precedent was set by former Labor deputy chief minister Syd Striling, who took himself out of contention for a cabinet position when Paul Henderson replaced Clare Martin as chief minister in 2007.

Ms Fyles is expected to announce her first Cabinet on Friday.

It was also widely expected by political observers that Ms Fyles would name Chansey Paech as deputy, to bring a Central Australia voice to a new leadership team.

Political insiders said Mr Paech had coveted the position.

Ms Manison was heavily criticised while treasurer during the beginning of the NT’s financial crisis and has been facing heat in recent years as Police Minister for what many say is her failing to adequately address the Territory’s crime crisis.

She has also publicly backed Police Commissioner Jamie Chalker, even as rank-and-file members have been pushing for a no-confidence vote against the unpopular commissioner for months.

Labor figures told the NT Independent last week that Ms Manison as leader would have seen Mr Gunner continuing to control government from the backbench where he moved after his shock resignation last week. Ms Fyles’s decision to keep Ms Manison in the deputy role is being seen by some as an indication that any chance of reform with the new leader would now be less likely.

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